‘IDF use dogs as weapon to terrify Palestinians’
Videos have appeared online showing Israeli soldiers with dogs arresting a young Palestinian in the West Bank. The 16-year-old boy was arrested for throwing stones after that he was repeatedly attacked by 'war dogs'. Later, the teenager was put in prison for 18 months.
RT:When you were in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) you used to use dogs against Palestinians. Was it the only reason why you left the service in the end?
Achiya Schatz: Not quite. I would say the reality of the occupation is that while you are part of the army those kinds of events happen. That is not an unusual event. Maybe it is a little harsher to see when it is videotaped. But in general, when you use an army to control a population, when you actually create an occupation, that is the reality that in the end comes out.
RT:I don’t know if you saw that video. But when you see this clip it’s clear that a lot of damage was caused to the guy by these trained dogs. What’s your opinion on that?
AS: There are different kinds of dogs that are being used in the army, some to expose weapons. This specific dog is an attack dog. They are trained to attack, to catch the person. Here we see the dog is being used against the 16 year-old-kid that threw rocks at the soldiers. But what you see there is not the dog being used to restrain, but the dog is being used to terrify as a weapon. The dog is a weapon.
I can tell you from my army service, when I did my first operation I was trained that I’m going to be dealing with terrorists in my service. And I remember my first operation when I got into the house I realized: this is a family, what we are doing here is like most of the time dealing with families. And the only way I know how to talk to them was with the weapon. This is how you are used to talk to them. You point with your gun to the left, you point with a gun to the right. The same with the dog- [it] is being used as a weapon.
RT:Knowing all the circumstances of the case, if this video is proved to be totally genuine (Israelis said they would launch an investigation) would it be a fruitful one? And what do you think has really happened?
AS: There are many incidents like that. And that is exactly like that because here you see some specific thing. There are different ones, all kind of incidents. I’ve seen soldiers abusing detainees [during] an operation, and it’s quite common. The thing is: the investigations don’t really lead anywhere. If we don’t end the occupation the incidents like that are just going to [happen] again and again. …What you’re being asked to do as a soldier is to make your presence felt, to terrify, to frighten the population. That is another way to frighten the population. In a situation like that it is very, very easy to cross the line. Many times you don’t know where the lines are. Maybe an investigation is going to be made, but in the end of it until we don’t end this situation, things like that are going to happen again and again.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.